The Highwind Blows
Session 7-8 - Enter the Fang
Session Dates: 12 and 26 March 2017
Having discovered a secret door in Trademaster Harlon’s office, Shankill, Edwynd, Snipit, and Lanneth entered the darkened tunnel, hot on the trail of Zann Oden. A cylindrical shaft and a metallic rung ladder took the party down into the darkness.
The unmistakable odor of raw sewage soon assaulted their nostrils. The foursome found themselves in the sewers under Athkatla.
The passageway ahead of them consisted of a narrow sewage channel flanked on either side by a stone pathway, Where passages crossed each other, sheets of metal bolted into the stone served as makeshift bridges over the sewage channels. The party made their way down the passageway, taking up positions on both sides of the sewage channel. When they came to the first crossing passage, the party found that the pathways on both sides were dead ends, each terminated by a heavy grate. Then Lanneth crossed the first “bridge”…
The party heard a loud click as Lanneth activated a pressure plate in the floor, and the sorcerer disappeared in a purplish swirl of arcane energy. The heavy grates clanged loudly to the floor, and soon swarms of rats poured out of the openings, eager for blood. The party had no time to wonder where Lanneth had gone before the swarms were upon them.
Meanwhile, back at the druid grove, Lelldraen realized that Archdruid Nessin was no longer listening to him. The drow turned to the wizened halfling, but found that the archdruid’s attention appeared to be focused on something far away. Lelldraen asked what was wrong, and Nessin warned him that his companions were in grave danger and that he needed to get to them right away. Lelldraen transformed into his fastest animal form — a wolf — and sprinted out of the grove, striving to reach his friends in time.
As the blur of grey fur streaked through the streets of Athkatla, Shankill, Edwynd, Snipit, and Gypsy fought furiously against the ravening swarm of chittering teeth and sharp claws. As furiously as they laid about them, they found that their weapons were not as effective against the mob as they were against single targets. Nevertheless, they persisted, and the sheer numbers began to diminish, though not without a cost in blood and pain.
Lelldraen, running in wolf form at full tilt, honed in on the entrance to the secret tunnel and raced into the warehouse, sending panicked porters and merchants screaming in fear and alarm. Streaking past the cowering Trademaster, Lelldraen struggled to slow his momentum and ended up running around and down the cylindrical shaft. The druid arrived in time to help his mates finish off the rest of the rat swarms, whose survivors scattered into the depths of the sewer.
The companions took the opportunity to rest and lick their wounds a bit before continuing to explore the sewer. Proceeding more cautiously down the corridor this time, they encountered a crossing passage similar to the one they had left, but this time encountered no traps or nasties. Shortly, they encountered a curious thing: The sewage channel and the passageways to either side had been dammed, causing waste effluent to pool in front of the dam, covering both stone passageways. Also curiously, on the other side of the dam, there was a stone arch in front of them, with a strange symbol inscribed on either side. The symbol was composed of three interlocked sticks in a triangular pattern.
The party halted at the edge of the effluent pool, unsure of how to proceed. They did not want to take their chances with wading into the pool. Edwynd sacrificed a couple of his beloved doughnuts to test the liquid on either side of the central channel; although they could see the doughnuts come to rest on the stone floor and suffer no further damage, they still balked at entering the smelly water. One party member examined one of the strange triangular symbols, which resulted in a buildup of arcane energy that exploded outward in a fireball, singing Edwynd and Shankill.
Losing his patience, Edwynd made a running leap from the dry stone pathway over the effluent pool, landing inside the stone archway. He found himself in a large room held up with pillars, with passageways leading off in all directions. He also found himself setting off an alarm bell. A pitched battle resulted as the other party members entered the chamber, and as the complex’s guards rallied to repel the invaders.
Meanwhile, as her vision cleared, Lanneth found herself in a tiny room — completely dark, and rapidly running out of oxygen. Giving herself some light, she frantically searched for a way out. She discovered that part of the stonework was different than the rest, and soon located the catch for a secret door. As the catch released, a loud bang resounded in the tiny room, and the sorcerer took a sweet breath of sewer air as it rushed in from outside.
By this time, the rest of the party had successfully dispatched the complex’s defenders and were exploring the wing that the guards had emerged from. They discovered a well containing fresh water on one end of a long hallway, with barracks on the other end. They identified the barracks as a good position to rest in, so Shankill fortified the door by hammering a spike under it. But right when they laid down to rest, they heard Lanneth release the catch on the secret door — on the opposite side of the complex.
Lanneth stepped out through the secret door into a giant room, onto a ledge overlooking a large pool of water. The corners of the pool were pillars supporting the ceiling of the chamber. As the sorcerer lightly leapt from from the ledge to the narrow pathway surrounding the pool, she heard a low growl. Lanneth, not thinking clearly, fired a bolt of fire into the pool of water, where it hissed and sputtered. In the wake of the hissing flame, four sets of eyes poked above the surface of the water — four hungry, sorcerer-eating crocodiles.
Lanneth’s companions heard the growls and cries of pain from the other side of the complex. Shankill ripped the spike free, and they raced to her rescue. But the distance was just too great. Lanneth fought hard, but the crocs fought harder, and the sorcerer eventually fell unconscious from blood loss. However, Lanneth had kept the crocs’ attention long enough for her companions to get there, and their timely arrival prevented the sorcerer from becoming croc food. After a short battle, the crocs lay dead, and the battered sorcerer regained consciousness.
With this, the reunited party decided that they had had enough, and retired to the barracks to rest and recover their strength. Shankill replaced the spike to secure the door, and the party took watches. During Edwynd’s watch, he heard footsteps and voices outside of the barracks door, but the footsteps moved away from the door, and the party rested a bit easier.
After resting, the party explored the rest of the barracks wing. They discovered a mess hall, a second barracks, a prison (complete with torture table), and the privy (always useful information). But they were most excited about discovering the armory. The party eagerly sifted through the armory’s selection of conventional weapons, taking whatever they thought useful. Moving on, they entered the narrow passageway opposite of the arch that Edwynd had jumped through. At the end of the passageway, just inside the chamber at the far end, the party spied one of the strange triangular glyphs on the floor — and wisely decided not to rush in.
Turning aside to a door on the right-hand side of the hallway, the party found themselves in an opulent bedroom, complete with closet, writing desk, and bookcase. While Edwynd helped himself to one of the fancy outfits in the closet, Shankill and Lanneth searched the bookcase (the half-orc very crudely, the sorcerer with a bit more discernment). They found a couple of magical scrolls, along with a copy of Magical Items for Half-Orcs and Other Dummies. Lanneth searched the writing desk as well, and found the remnants of a letter on a blotting pad.
The task that you paid us to perform has been completed. The rogue elements of Tradehouse Carinne have been “pacified”, and the ones with dubious loyalty can easily be persuaded to fall in line. Tradehouse Carinne will trouble you no longer. In fact, our new “arrangement” with Carinne opens up new trade alliances with our rowdy neighbors to the northeast — a matter which I will return to shortly.
As to the other matter, the one that you keep us on retainer for — the drow has disappeared since his release from Magistrate Jermyn’s custody. The elf “captain” and his followers are still in the city, however, evidenced by the ship still being berthed at the city docks. We continue to search, however, so be assured that we will find the drow , no matter what methods his companions use to obfuscate our search.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have received a rather interesting business proposition from those rowdy neighbors that I referred to earlier. My contact has expressed particular interest in the half-orc that accompanies the drow and his “captain” friend. This interest promises to be quite lucrative for both of us. So, I propose that, when you apprehend the drow and dispatch him for whatever it is that you seek, you give me the half-orc.
Fare well, Master Oden. The Fang is pleased to serve. As long as your gold stays good, anyway.
The letter was stamped with the same strange triangular symbol that was inscribed on the entryway.
Leaving the bedroom, the party turned into the narrow passageway and marched toward the strange glyph and the room it was in. This room was vaguely diamond-shaped, with a small pool of water in the center and an ornate chair (almost throne-like) on the opposite wall. Edwynd attempted to leap over the glyph on the floor, but failed; his weight pressed down on the pressure plate hidden under the glyph, causing a heavy portcullis to slam down in the passageway, cutting Lanneth off from the rest of the party. And as the captain of the Highwind picked himself off of the floor, the figure standing in front of the chair hissed in a sibilant voice.
“I wondered when I would discover the rats infesting my tunnels.”